8 Things To Know Before Traveling to Greece
With the recent train of events and restrictions on travel many people are searching for the perfect place to getaway. Greece is scheduled to open its borders to all tourists in July or possibly sooner. Greece is an affordable, yet memorizing place that offers an experience all its own.
I spent a total of 7 months in Greece and fell in love with the greek way of living. Below you will see a detailed outline of things I wish I knew before traveling to Greece. This is the first in my Greek Sun Shine Series in this series I will be leading you through the ends and outs of successfully seeing Greece like a local. Nothing in this blog is affiliated and is based off my personal experience as a solo traveler.
- Do I need a Visa?
So if you plan on visiting Greece for shorter than 90 days you do not need a visa or anything specific health shots. However if you are planning on staying in Greece I recommend you look into a visa sooner than later. This process is 10 steps and can be time-consuming. The Greek Console has the right to refuse anyone a visa for any reason so having this documentation correct is essential. My advice is to check out this website as a start. Then creating a checklist of everything to simplify this process.
2. Money, Money, money
In Greece cash is king and always recommend to have. Many souvenir shops and restaurants do not take cards especially if you visiting small islands or not tourist areas. I recommend bring cash before you arrive. Many of the ATMs have fees as high 50 us for taking cash out. I have also seen an ATM swoll someone debut card and never return it. The economy in Greece is fragile however this works to tourist favor. Just make sure you remember those euros. I would say 5-30 euros a day should be plenty for food. For more insight on budging in Greece check out this as a guide.
3. Each location in Greece offers a different experience
From the hustle in bustle in Athens to the calm laid back life in Santorini, Greece offers something for everyone. I would recommend looking for islands if you are looking for something more rural. The islands however do tend to be more expensive especially in touristy places like Mykonos and Santorini. A lunch there can cost you 10-20 euros vs Athens will be more like 2-8 euros. Another advantage of cities like Athens or Thessaloniki you have access to cheap easy public transit. In the islands, you will need Atv, donkey or call a taxi ahead of time. The island landscape can be intense so walking everywhere may not be an option. Check out guide Greek cities for more information.
4. Finding affordable flights
Getting to Greece can get pricey depending on where you are coming from. The main airport in Greece is then I recommend flying here first before hitting the islands even if you are coming from Europe. The reason being there are cheap flights/ferries to all islands from Athens. Another way cut cost for Americans is to fly into England then take a Ryanair flight to Athens this can save you a lot. For best flights deals and transportation check out these resources: Skyscanner, Rome2Rio, Google Flights, and Kayak.
5. Using public transportation in Greece
Understanding public transportation in Greece is essentially especially if you plan on traveling to Athens. All throughout Athens people travel by metro, bus, train, and taxi. I would recommend avoiding taxis at all cost as they get pricey and have a couple of experiences of getting ripped up by taxi drivers. If you do take a taxi make sure you ask the price before getting in the car.
As for the metro system it is pretty clean and can take you almost anywhere in Athens. The rides can be anywhere from 1-3 euros. I found the metros to have seats for most travelers and to running almost all day. As for the buses these rides are about the same, however in my experience sometimes people just get on and don’t even purchase tickets. The hardest thing about navigating through Greece is reading the signs under the graffiti. Many of the street signs are covered in spray paint, this can be a slight challenge while finding your way around. However with Maps. Me this should help with this problem.
One thing keep in mind however is a majority of the islands do not have any public transportation due to the landscape. Arranging rides/shuttles from island airports or ferry stations in advice can help save you money and time.
6. The language barrier
The native language of Greece is greek, with that being said I would say 60 percent of people speak English. In almost all of Athens, there is almost always someone around who speaks some English. As you travel further from tourist spots though this can change. I recommend learning a few basic things as Greeks love when you at least try. As for the islands for places like Santorini and Mykonos the language barrier is almost nonexistent. Being able to communicate with the greek locals is one of the reasons why it is my favorite place to visit.
7. Dressing in Greece is mellow
The greeks live a very laid back lifestyle and the same can be said about their style. An average man in Greece usually wears a tshirt and jeans/shorts. As for the women usually wear jeans/leggings, and a tshirt of some kind. This, not a place where you will see men wearing suit jackets or ladies wearing dresses unless for a particular occasion. The color black is also huge in Greece it is normal to see people wearing all black every day. The only thing I would not recommend wearing is big jewelry or clothing too revealing to can draw unwanted attention.
8. How to embrace the greek lifestyle
As for the lifestyle typical day in Greece is waking up at 10 am working for till 3 then afternoon break for most of the day. All afternoon in Greece you will find the coffee shops full of people chatting and enjoying themselves. It is a very relaxing lifestyle. Dinner tends to start around 8 and usually lasts at least two hours because of the greek culture there is an emphasis on multiple courses. If you are looking to go out, the clubs do not get busy usually till 2 am and stay open till 8 am. Greece has an amazing nightlife from chill pubs to insane clubs there is something for everyone. Also it is legal to drink in the streets as well. Everything in Greece is done a little later so be ready to kick back and enjoy it.
For more about Greece from budgeting to hidden gems subscribe to my blog as this is the first post in the Greek Sun Shine Series.
” It takes a lifetime for someone to discover Greece, but only takes a instant to fall in love with her.”Henry Miller